Behind The Scenes: Teachers Prioritise Students' Growth Despite Challenges, Burnout - Eastern Mirror
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Behind the scenes: Teachers prioritise students’ growth despite challenges, burnout

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Sep 04, 2023 6:49 pm
Keneile-Ü Suokhrie with her students on the occasion of Teacher’s Day celebration at Government Higher Secondary School in Tuensang on Monday.

DIMAPUR — ‘Mornings are always a rush hour at home for me and my five-year-old son, as I juggle between feeding him, preparing his lunch, sending him off to school, and then rushing to my school. After school, I start attending webinars either as a viewer or as a resource person, giving intellectual resources to teachers all over India.’

Keneile-Ü Suokhrie, a teacher at the Government Higher Secondary School in Tuensang for the past seven years, shared this picture of the rush mornings.

A postgraduate teacher in Science (Zoology) who is also an ambassador for the International Teachers Olympiad, she says, “Everything is worth the sleepless nights or less sleeps often during weekdays because at the end of the day I learn so much from my students’ performance and assessment and all the online professional courses I take to keep myself updated.”

Suokhrie told Eastern Mirror that the best part of teaching is realising that knowledge belongs to humanity and is not confined to any one country or geographical location because teachers believe that knowledge is the only light for the entire world and that they are the torch bearers.

Amidst the challenges that teachers face, one that she highlighted was teachers running around seeking help to correct missing pensions and late salary issues.

“As government teachers in far flung areas dedicating ourselves to become everything to our learners, be it a nutritionist, a counsellor, to name a few, it takes a toll on our mental and emotional well being when we have late salaries and missing National Pension Scheme (NPS) issues in the back of our minds and we juggle between work, classroom, and running around for our salary issues as at the end of the day we have to feed ourselves,” she lamented.

Also, she feels that mediocre performance as a teacher is a crime against humanity, so she always goes the extra mile with every new batch to cater to individual learners’ needs. And for those who still request free tuition, she invites them to her place and lets them and her son study together.

As a teacher who has represented the state on national and international platforms, she always wants teachers to connect on global platforms and get each other’s best teaching practices.

“I wish to share my ideas and pedagogical ideas for free and let other dedicated teacher champions enjoy free intellectual and experiential resources hassle free and with zero payment through the Gurushala online teacher enriching app and the Surassa app because, as I always say, knowledge belongs to humanity,” Suokhrie affirmed when asked what she wants to do differently as a teacher.

Why teach when it is exhausting?

“I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, and that was the only profession that was looked upon as interesting during our time. More than two decades into the profession, I still remember playing teacher-teacher growing up with my friends and cousins,” Joy (name changed on request), who teaches at a private school in one of the districts in a rural area, shared.

Although his salary at a private school may not be enticing compared to that of government teachers, he said that teaching is a significant and rewarding career, although it can also be exhausting and trying at times.

“Not everyone fully knows what they’re signing up for when they choose to become a teacher. Teaching is harder now than ever, especially with the rapidly changing technology, the students’ behaviour, and of course the low pay,” he noted.

Another concern he expressed was the need to invest in the teaching profession, as with the current low pay, there may be a shortage of teachers in the future. He urged people, therefore, to invest in teachers for the sake of their children and future.

Sharing the same emotion with Suokhrie, he highlighted that many teachers also feel responsible and invested in their students, and that even after class, teachers tutor students, check papers, or prepare for the next day. Teachers take their work home as well, and it is very difficult to keep a balance between life and work.

Nonetheless, he extolled that teaching is a great profession where they watch students’ grow and learn, fail and then succeed, and that teachers love what they do because it is a place where he believes he can make the most difference.

Mental, emotional and psychological well-being ignored

“The entire administration of schools, colleges, and institutions is often so focused on the well-being of the students and their academic performances or achievements that they forget about the mental, emotional, and psychological well-being of the teaching faculty members,” holistic counsellor and freelance Skills Development Facilitator Kilentola Jamir shared her thoughts on the eve of Teachers’ Day.

“Because teachers are obliged to get their jobs done and they often don’t even get an option for self-care as well, you would find many teachers experiencing burnout and later on developing physical complications as well,” she noted while pointing out how one can expect teachers to perform efficiently when their mental well-being isn’t taken care of.

She asserted that mental health is just as important for teachers as it is for students or anyone else. This also implies that all administrative and teaching faculty members require mental health care and awareness.

Also read: Nagaland Governor, Chief Minister extend greetings to teachers

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Sep 04, 2023 6:49:46 pm
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